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Dhaka Tribune

No survivors found in Nepal plane wreckage

Update : 17 Feb 2014, 05:25 AM

Nepalese police found the wreckage of a missing Nepal Airlines plane carrying 18 people in the country's mountainous west on Monday. However, there were no survivors, an aviation official said.

"The plane crashed into a hill. Police have found its wreckage in a village, but no survivors," Bimlesh Lal Karna, chief air traffic controller at the country's largest airport in Kathmandu, told AFP.

The plane carrying 15 passengers, including an infant and three crew members, lost contact with air traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the popular tourist town of Pokhara Sunday afternoon, airline officials and police said.

The aircraft from the state-run carrier was travelling to the town of Jumla, 353 kilometres (220 miles) west of Kathmandu, when air traffic controllers lost contact.

Heavy rain hampered Sunday's efforts to locate the plane, with two helicopters forced to turn back because of bad weather.

Police finally spotted scattered pieces of the wreckage while conducting an aerial search of Arghakhanchi district, 226 kilometres west of the capital, aviation official Karna said.

One of the passengers was from Denmark, according to Airline Spokesman Ram Hari Sharma. The rest of those on board -- including Manab Sejuwal, a local politician from the ruling Nepali Congress party -- are from Nepal.

The crash has raised concerns about the Himalayan nation's aviation sector, which has come under fire from international authorities after a series of fatal accidents.

The European Union banned all the country's airlines from flying to the EU in December.

Nepal, which counts tourism as a major contributor to its economy, has suffered a number of air crashes in recent years, which have usually been attributed to inexperienced pilots, poor management and inadequate maintenance.  

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